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SOUTH PACIFIC FORUM September 19, 1997


The Chair of the South Pacific Forum, Hon. Sir Geoffrey Henry KBE, MP, Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, has welcomed the ratification by the United Kingdom of the Protocols to the South Pacific Nuclear Free Zone Treaty, known as the Treaty of Rarotonga.

The Treaty of Rarotonga established the South Pacific nuclear-free zone while the Protocols commit nuclear powers not to use or test explosive nuclear devices in the zone.

The instruments of ratification were handed over to the Secretary General today by United Kingdom's Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr. Derek Fatchett, in Rarotonga, Cook Islands where Leaders of 16 independent and self-governing states are attending the 28th annual South Pacific Forum meeting.

Hon. Sir Geoffrey said, "It is appropriate that the United Kingdom ratify the Protocols in Rarotonga, Cook Islands as the Treaty was adopted here in 1985 during the 16th South Pacific Forum.

Forum Leaders will welcome this move as a further commitment by a nuclear power to honour the wishes of our people for a South Pacific nuclear free zone."

France, the People's Republic of China, the United Kingdom, the United States and the former Soviet Union have all signed the Treaty of Rarotonga.

France and the United Kingdom have now ratified all three Protocols. The People's Republic of China and the former Soviet Union have ratified Protocols 2 and 3.

Under Protocol 1, the three states (France, the United Kingdom and the United States) with territories in the zone undertake to apply the basic provisions of the Treaty to their territories in the zone.

Parties to Protocol 2 undertake not to use or threaten to use any nuclear explosive device against Parties to the treaty or territories in the zone of Parties to Protocol 1.

Parties to Protocol 3 undertake not to test nuclear explosive devices in the zone.

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